The other day I did something silly and ineffective for the umpteenth time in my life (details not important). I caught it quickly. As I was recognizing the familiarity of the behavior and the negate Gary feeling, I said to myself “well, I’m a work-in-progress”.
I’m conflicted by that phrase. On one hand it is positive recognition that I’m continually working on improving, and rapid recognition of ineffective behavior is progress. On the other hand, I always feel that saying this is a bit of a cop-out. For all the work I’ve done, the time and money I’ve invested, shouldn’t I be more of a finished work?
As I was contemplating this, our friend Michael sent me an article, The Wisdom of No Escape by Genpo Roshi:
“I’m not OK, You’re not OK, But that’s OK. It has taken me more than 40 years of Zen practice and a great deal of inner searching and life suffering to be at a place where I can really say this and mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
Apparently, it is not only okay to be a work-in-progress but it is the way our lives are supposed to be. As long as we are living and breathing, we must focus on inner searching, and maintaining a desire to constantly improve how we do life.
Almost twenty years ago as I was beginning my business of mentoring and coaching business owners, my coach told me to recognize that all great companies have a on-going and continual product improvement process. He said that if I wanted to be great at my work, I also needed to continually focus on improving my product – me.
Last week, our friend David gave me another piece of wisdom on this topic. He said that people have a tendency when asked about their personal growth work to say “I’m on the journey” when they should be saying, “I’m living the journey”. When we are living the journey, we put our focus on the “living” which is the most important part of any journey of self-improvement. It’s through living that we learn from our ineffective thoughts. It’s through living that we learn the practice of recognizing these thoughts and shifting them to be more effective.
If you are also a work-in-progress, congratulations. Be grateful that you are committed to developing a deeper awareness of how to be the best, most improved you. Any discomfort of not being a finished work is part of the learning.
As for me, I’m a work-in-progress and that’s OK.
Progressing to imperfection,